(Hartford), April 16, 2014 — The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation today announced the Connecticut recipients of the 12th annual NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards, a scholarship program designed to reward and encourage entrepreneurial talents among high school students. More than 600 students nationwide applied for a YEF scholarship this year and NFIB is proud to award three scholarships to young entrepreneurs in Connecticut.
The 2014 YEF Award winners from Connecticut are:
· Vivek Tedla, NFIB Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist and a senior at Newton High School. Vivek, of Newtown, CT, runs VRT Studios, which provides photography services.
· Jacqueline LeGree, winner of the NFIB/Connecticut Leadership Council Young Entrepreneur Award and a senior at Wilby High School. Jacqueline, of Waterbury, CT, runs OAK Apparel (One of a Kind). She’s a fashion designer and she plans to open her own shop after graduation from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
· Michael Zarlenga, winner of the NFIB/Horizon Services Young Entrepreneur Award and a senior at Fairfield Warde High School. Michael, of Fairfield, CT, runs Zarlenga Landscape Services.
“Small business is the backbone of Connecticut’s economy and there’s no better way for young people to improve their futures and help their communities than to start a business that creates jobs and opportunities for others,” said NFIB State Director Andrew Markowski.
In 2014, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded 100 Young Entrepreneur Award Scholarships to students across the country. Each award is between $1,000 and $15,000. Student who received the Young Entrepreneur Award are seniors in high school who own and/or operate their own small business. The scholarships are used to help with tuition costs for the winners’ post-secondary education. NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded $145,000 to deserving young entrepreneurs in 2014, thanks to the financial support from numerous small business leaders, corporate and foundation supporters. A complete list of donors is available here.
“America’s young people have caught the entrepreneurial bug, and we at the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation could not be more confident in our next generation of business owners,” said Molly Young, Senior Manager of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. “The number of applicants for the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards continues to grow and we are impressed year after year with the quality of these hard-working, innovative high school students who are making their entrepreneurial dreams happen. Our scholarship winners are driven to succeed; our nation’s future is all the brighter because of their determination and leadership. NFIB congratulates this year’s winners for their tremendous accomplishments and hopes the scholarships will assist these young entrepreneurs as they continue on their paths towards successful futures.”
In addition to recognizing these outstanding young entrepreneurs, the Young Entrepreneur Foundation will honor five students selected as Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on July 16th. During the event, the winners of the “2014 NFIB Young Entrepreneur of the Year” and “2014 NFIB Dan Danner Leadership Award” will be named and each awarded a $15,000 scholarship. The remaining three finalists will each receive a $5000.00 scholarship. A full list of this year’s winners is available here.
To qualify for an NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award, students must be seniors in high school who own and/or operate their own small business. They are required to write an essay describing their entrepreneurial endeavors and future goals. NFIB members around the country interview the applicants for the Young Entrepreneur Awards. Since 2003, YEF has awarded over 2,500 scholarships worth more than $2.5 million to graduating high school seniors.